The Benefits of Having an EAD Card
The EAD card is a government-issued identification card available to certain foreign nationals who are in the United States. It stands for Employment Authorization Document, and it is used as proof that its holders are legally able to work in the U.S.
The process for getting an EAD card can be laborious and time-consuming, but it is worth it for those who want to be able to work legally in the United States. In this article, we’ll take a look at what an EAD card is, who is eligible to apply for one, and what the benefits of having one are. We’ll also talk about how to apply for an EAD card and offer some tips on what documents you should have handy when you do so. Read on to learn more about the EAD card and how it could benefit you if you are a foreign national looking to work legally in the United States.
What is an EAD Card?
An EAD Card, or Employment Authorization Document, is an identification card that specifies the type of work an alien is legally allowed to do while in the United States. It is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and allows individuals without legal permanent residency status to gain entry into the US labor market. The card includes a photograph of the holder and also includes information such as;
- Expiration Date
- Other details about the alien’s work authorizations
The card serves several important functions for those seeking to work in the US. For example, employers can use it to verify a candidate’s eligibility to work in their company, while aliens use it as an official means of identification when applying for jobs. Similarly, those with an EAD Card can apply for a social security number and open a checking account with a financial institution. Notably, holders of EAD cards also don’t always require sponsors or visa holders- they are free agents who are empowered by this document to apply for jobs that fulfill USCIS requirements outlined on their cards.
Benefits of an EAD Card
Having an EAD Card provides many benefits to those in the United States. There are 5 main advantages, each of which can enable a more seamless life in the USA.
- Work Authorization- The EAD Card grants permission to work legally in the USA. This means that any job legal for immigrants can be applied for and accepted without the worry of legal implications.
- Social Security Number- With an EAD card, it is possible to apply for and obtain a Social Security Number, which is needed for various transactions such as tax filing, purchasing property, or opening bank accounts.
- Ability to Travel Internationally- Possession of an EAD card allows the holder to travel overseas without worrying about complications from not having a visa. The card will grant the holder re-entry into the United States.
- Driving Privileges- An EAD cardholder will be able to apply for and receive a driver’s license in most states. This will grant them more independence and freedom of movement around the US, making daily life much easier.
- Eligibility for Benefits Programs- An EAD cardholder may also be eligible for certain government benefits programs such as SNAP if they meet all other eligibility requirements, including income threshold requirements.
Eligibility Requirements for the EAD Card
The EAD Card is available to those who meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements vary depending on the individual’s legal status but generally include being approved for certain statuses and programs, including:
- Nonimmigrants in the US under certain visa categories
- Refugees and asylees
- Those granted asylum in the US by USCIS
- Persons granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
- Victims of human trafficking or domestic violence
- Persons with U nonimmigrant status
- Conditional permanent residents
- Individuals who have applied for an eligible nonimmigrant status or have had their status extended
The EAD card also requires a valid form of identification and proof of lawful presence in the US. In some cases, additional documentation may be needed to demonstrate eligibility for a specific category.
Documents Required for Applying
When applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card, certain documents are needed to prove identity and eligibility. Depending on the non-immigrant status, the required documents can vary. Generally, the following items are required:
- Government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver’s license, state ID)
- Form I-765
- Form I-9
- Proof of legal status in the U.S. (e.g. passport, visa)
- Additional documents based on nonimmigrant status
For example, if you’re applying for an EAD as a refugee or asylum seeker, you need to submit your Form I-589 and your refugee travel document or advance parole document in addition to the documents mentioned above. The same applies to F1 students who need to provide evidence of their job offer or their student status before they can apply for an EAD card.
It is important to note that all EAD applications must be accompanied by two passport-size photos and the requisite fee; this fee varies from $410 to $495 depending on the category applied for and may be paid via check or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.